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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Entrepreneurs – Test your business

2nd chance entrepreneurs in action

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"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement" - C.S. Lewis

Business health check

A critical situation can arise if a company encounters several problems at the same time. It may not even be immediately apparent that such problems are potentially serious. These problems can make the company vulnerable to changes in external factors beyond its control, e.g. legal requirements or customer demand.

Such situations require very quick decision-making. But small businesses frequently don't have the resources or experience to manage crises like this, which go well beyond the day-to-day running of a business. If no proper (external) help is available, the company may well go to the wall.

The earlier you spot potential problems, the sooner you can fix them. Here are some classic warning signs to watch out for.

External

Internal

Customers

  • Loss of regular customers
  • Large unpaid invoices, bad debt losses
  • Customer complaints piling up

Market, competition

  • More intense competition, new competitors
  • Falling market share
  • Declining sales
  • Increasing price pressure

Suppliers

  • Declining delivery reliability
  • Suppliers offer poor conditions
  • Insistance on payment in advance

Lenders

  • Worse terms offered
  • More frequent business development reports required
  • More collateral demanded
  • Credit curtailed

Management

  • Attitude "But we've always managed like this"
  • Unclear responsibilities
  • Decisions repeatedly postponed
  • Uncoordinated management
  • Burn-out with nothing to show for it

Staff

  • Unable to fill key positions
  • Staff not working to full capacity
  • Employees discuss internal problems with customers/business partners
  • Increased turnover of staff
  • Rising absenteeism

Finances

  • Dwindling liquidity reserves
  • Maximun available credit used more frequently
  • Unable to benefit from early-payment discounts
  • Getting harder to pay invoices on time

Take 15 minutes to check you've got everything covered. It could save you a lot of time and money in future.

Take the business health check

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